Judge Shuts Down New Attempt to Remove Trump From Ballot

Judge Shuts Down New Attempt to Remove Trump From Ballot

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Another 14th Amendment case was rejected by a Federal judge this week.

A federal judge in Wyoming rejected a motion that called for former President Donald Trump to be removed from the state’s ballot—claiming that he is not eligible to become president under an interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

Albany County District Court Judge Misha Westby dismissed the case “without prejudice,” which means the plaintiff, Tim Newcomb, can bring it again, according to court papers that were posted by lawyer and former California GOP chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon on X, formerly Twitter, this week.

“Not again! Yes again …Wyoming federal judge threw yet another 14th amendment challenge out on its ear today. Bye!” she wrote.

The plaintiff had sought to “preclude the names” of both President Trump and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) from appearing on the state’s ballots, attempting to argue that the former president violated his oath of office for his activity around the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Newcomb, in his challenge, claimed that Ms. Lummis also betrayed her oath of office for refusing to certify the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.
A former attorney, Mr. Newcomb wrote that his complaint “grounds the two facts required by the 14th Amendment to disqualify traitors from ever again holding office,” referring to the former president and the GOP senator. He also asked the state court to ”reserve judgment until the meaningful opportunity to be heard allows [me] to demonstrate relevance and admissibility of adjudicative facts,” which cited more than 250 news articles about the former president.
Some of the articles he referenced appeared to contain claims that President Trump had colluded with the Russian government. A 2019 Department of Justice investigation headed by former special counsel Robert Mueller later found there was no evidence that the former president had colluded with the Kremlin.

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According to the Cowboy State Daily, when reached for comment last month, Mr. Newcomb pointed to footnotes in a recent court filing, including a Wikipedia article that links to “stochastic terrorism,” a CNN report about threats allegedly made to the Colorado Supreme Court, and a YouTube video including an interviewer who questioned about reported threats to public officials.

It came as Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray, a Republican, filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Newcomb’s lawsuit, describing it as “repugnant.”

“The attempt to remove Donald Trump and Cynthia Lummis from the ballot is outrageously wrong and repugnant to our electoral process,” Mr. Gray said in a statement. “Today, we filed a motion to dismiss this blatant, radical attempt to interfere with Wyoming’s elections. The weaponization of the Fourteenth Amendment to remove political opponents from the ballot undermines the sanctity of the Constitution. We are committed to protecting the integrity of our elections and ensuring that the people of Wyoming can choose who to elect for themselves.”

The lawsuit was also criticized by at-large Wyoming House Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), who defeated former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in her reelection bid during the state’s primary.

“These boneheaded attempts to keep President Trump off the ballot have sadly made their way to my state of Wyoming,” Ms. Hageman said in a statement. “This is an attempt to use the court system to interfere with an upcoming election and deny voters the chance to support a candidate of their choosing. Nothing could be more tyrannical than that.”

Wyoming, a solidly red state, overwhelmingly went for President Trump in 2020. It means that if he were to be struck from the state’s ballots, it could be damaging to the former president’s 2024 chances.

In recent days, multiple federal judges have dismissed 14th Amendment-related challenges to prevent President Trump from appearing on various state ballots. A judge in California this week rejected a suit “with prejudice” after a plaintiff argued they suffered “emotional injury” from watching news reports and reading media outlets’ descriptions of the Jan. 6 breach.

The California judge wrote that because the events occurred “more than two years before the plaintiff” filed the lawsuit, the challenge was outside of the two-year statute of limitations, according to Ms. Dhillon, who posted the court papers on X.

Several other federal judges have also dismissed attempts to block the former president from appearing on ballots. In a ruling issued in late December 2023, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema wrote that the plaintiffs—two activists—who filed suit against President Trump in Virginia to keep him on that state’s ballot lacked standing.

But at least two of those 14th Amendment challenges have seen some success in Maine and Colorado. However, there has been widespread speculation that higher courts or even the U.S. Supreme Court will strike those decisions down.

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled to keep the former president off the primary ballot in the state in mid-December, which was promptly appealed to the Supreme Court. And last week, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, unilaterally decided to keep President Trump off the ballot. Her order also has been appealed by President Trump.


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